The July 22 Variety section had a lengthy “opinion” article on the proposed new plan for the renovation of Peavey Plaza (on the Nicollet Mall) written by Tom Fisher from the University of Minnesota. The article was very positive in its scope.

As you may recall, the Cultural Landscapes Foundation and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota successfully sued the city of Minneapolis in 2012 to stop plans to deconstruct this historic 1960s park (subsequently placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013) and replace it with a totally new design. Over the past year, the city of Minneapolis has been working with local stakeholders and a new design group on a plan that would maintain key elements of the original park design yet update it to conform to new requirements for handicapped access — the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties ( and the Guidelines for the Treatment of Cultural Landscapes (

However, there is an article on the national website of the Cultural Landscapes Foundation documenting continuing, serious concerns with the new plan of which the public should be aware.

Harvey Ettinger, Minneapolis


Meat consumption can be halal and humane at the same time

The July 25 article “Somalis make Shakopee home” notes Somali-Americans’ need for “halal meats such as chicken legs, diced beef, goat and camel — a Middle Eastern delicacy.”

Progressive Muslim communities, with the help of some imams, animal-protection organizations and veterinary expertise, are seeking to ensure that the slaughtering of animals for their consumption is in accord with Muslim beliefs. This movement, begun by the late Al-Hafiz B.A. Masri, an internationally renowned imam and a friend of mine, promotes the adoption of pre-slaughter stunning to render the animals totally unconscious before the blood vessels in their throats are severed with one stroke. This is because of the relatively recent scientific discovery of other blood vessels, especially in young kids and lambs, that are not severed because they course through the neck vertebrae and are protected by the bone.

This means that unconsciousness and death are protracted, because there is still some circulation to the brain. Total decapitation, as I have witnessed with goats being ritually slaughtered by Sikhs, is clearly more humane than traditional halal and kosher slaughter. But decapitating larger animals such as cattle and camels is more problematic.

According to Gail Eisnitz with the Humane Farming Association, “rendering farm animals unconscious prior to bleeding and butchering them is far less inhumane than allowing them to slowly and consciously bleed to death. Stunning also reduces the possibility that the animals have sensibility during the butchering process. We encourage the Muslim community to institute stunning as a routine practice if slaughter is being conducted.”

Michael W. Fox, Golden Valley


Carbon fee on emissions is still the best way to go

Paul Anton and Phillip Peterson (“Let’s update how we tally pollution’s costs,” Opinion Exchange, July 26) rightfully pointed to the need for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to take action to control fossil-fuel pollution that is adversely impacting human health and climate change, as it subsequently did (“ ‘Social cost’ of emissions increased,” July 28). While further regulations may have some effect on the fossil-fuel industry, a more likely option involves adoption of a carbon fee on emissions so that the industry is paying for the actual costs of its emissions on human health and climate change. Rather than a government tax, revenue collected from carbon fees would be distributed to the public as well as to the development of alternative, clean-energy options. This free-market approach has increasing support from people across the political spectrum as a means of shifting away from dependency on fossil fuels that is placing the future of the planet in peril.

Richard Beach, Minneapolis


A few tweaks

Regarding Mark Osler’s July 26 commentary concerning the president’s power to pardon, two items need clarification. It has never been decided that the president had the power to pardon himself, as stated in the article. Second, President Gerald Ford did not pardon the draft evaders, but rather granted a conditional amnesty provided they serve two years of public service, etc. President Jimmy Carter granted a full pardon some three years later without such conditions.

James Whetstone, Hayward, Wis.


Cause for reminiscence

The recent articles about autograph-seekers brought back fond memories of taking three buses to Memorial Stadium on the hot Baltimore summer days of my youth.

After the game, my buddies and I would head for the gates to get player autographs. In those days, it was not always easy to distinguish players from equipment managers sans uniform. On one occasion, the victim of our attention claimed he was not a ballplayer, whereupon I reached into my pocket and flashed his player card. Jim Bunning, Detroit pitcher and the only Major League Baseball player elected to both the U.S. Senate and the Baseball Hall of Fame, smiled and sheepishly signed the card.

On another occasion, we decided that prospects would be better at one of the less-crowded gates. Sure enough, Willie Miranda, a colorful Cuban player known for his sterling defensive play, emerged. He told us to wait there as he ducked back into the stadium. We waited there for more than an hour. We had been duped, stood up by a guy with a sub-.200 batting average. How humiliating.

That was autograph-seeking back in the day. They were free, but “buyer” beware!

Steven M. Pine, Hopkins

• • •

Things have really changed for autograph-seekers. In the 1960s, I worked in the sales and catering office at the downtown Radisson Hotel. The New York Yankees stayed there when in town and were always available for autograph-seekers, as were the Minnesota Twins. They all appreciated their fans, and the fans were more than polite and grateful. It was amazing to have contact with famous sports figures; today, it’s not as easy. I have a fully autographed baseball signed by the entire Yankee team of the early ’60s. A real treasure!

Mary Jo Sherwood, Minnetonka


Being Minnesotan

This is a good time of year for transplants like myself to ask if we can finally be treated as “real” Minnesotans. If you (a) started a fire to burn rubbish dangerously close to a house in strong winds, (b) have driven an unsecured load at a high rate of speed preferably on a busy highway, (c) look forward to this year’s new State Fair foods, and (d) are optimistic the Vikings could make a Super Bowl run and the Twins will be better next year, congratulations! You are as close to being a native Minnesotan as you are ever likely to be.

Michael Harwell, Forest Lake